Instruments & Gear: New Gear

Martin Authentic Acoustic Strings

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Martin’s newest strings use tin-plated trebles and core wires.

by Teja Gerken
October 01, 2018

C.F. Martin and Co. has long been a leading manufacturer of guitar strings. Having recently introduced several completely new kinds of strings, including its Titanium Core, Retro, and Flexible Core SP sets (check out our video demo of those strings here), the company has now come out with the most advanced versions of its standard phosphor bronze and 80/20 bronze strings, called Authentic Acoustics.

All of the Authentic Acoustics use high-tensile-strength core wire, and Martin uses a tin-plating process on both the plain strings and core wire of the wound strings. This increases resistance to corrosion, leading to greater longevity and better feel for all strings.

Martin’s basic Authentic Acoustic set (starting at $6.49) replaces the previous Acoustic and SP Acoustic sets, and is available in 80/20 bronze or 92/8 phosphor bronze. It is available in a wide range of gauges, and as a 12-string or silk-and-steel set.

The Authentic Acoustic Marquis Silked set (starting at $7.49) replaces Martin’s previous Marquis string set. On the Silked strings, about an inch or so of silk wrapping is added to the standard Authentic Acoustic strings in the area immediately above the ball end. Acting as a layer of padding, this protects the contact points on the bridge and bridge plate from wear. Authentic Acoustic Marquis Silked sets are also available in 80/20 bronze and 92/8 phosphor bronze, and come in nearly as many choices of gauges as standard Authentic Acoustics.

The last of Martin’s new string sets is the Authentic Acoustic Lifespan 2.0 (starting at $12.49). The latest version of Martin’s popular SP Lifespan strings, the Lifespan 2.0 strings use Martin’s patented anti-corrosion treatment, which leads to significantly longer life and a smoother feel. Like the other Authentic Acoustic strings, the Lifespan 2.0s come in 80/20 bronze and 92/8 phosphor bronze and in most common gauges.

I put a light-gauge set of the phosphor bronze Authentic Acoustic Lifespan 2.0s on my Martin OM before heading to a three-hour gig recently, and I was impressed with how the strings’ tone stayed consistent even a couple of weeks after that initial trial. They also felt more like standard strings than some other treated or coated strings.

Regardless of whether you’ve used earlier Martin strings or not, the new Authentic Acoustics are worth checking out.


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Comments and Discussion

Posted by Doug Henninger on
I took a not-too-used Alvarez from S.Korea (!) with electronics for $100 at a SamAsh and it was a bit bright (bone/bone), so I got a GraphTech saddle with graphite in NuBone and fit it then installed 1 gauge heavier than the .011-.052 I usually get from d'Addario. The Martin Authentic Acoustics were $10 and I just took a chance with the gauge and cost I was after. My take is that the Martins are worth it... good feel, very strong and nice sustain and well-balanced. The bass E an A are nice and ready immediately after stretch and tune-up (I tune 1/2 step down to sing more easily). I suggest you try 1 set and you can always go back to the old brand... but I like the Martins and never owned a Martin guitar in 50 years of playing.
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